I love New York. I don’t have the t-shirt or mug or hat with that message plastered on it, but I really do heart New York. So many amazing things to see and do and watch and eat and drink, but today I wanted to tell you about a book shop (book store, if you prefer). It’s called Book Culture, and it’s brilliant.
But first, here’s Central Park under snow this week…
Anyway, my favourite link in the Book Culture chain is the store on Columbus. If you’re in town, it’s a great place to look around and spent some quality time with books and gifts and trinkets and cool things. Even if you’re the fussiest fuss-pot, or if you’re looking for a gift for said fussiest fuss-pot, I’m pretty sure you’ll find something (or things) here.
I was lucky enough to visit again this week, and wanted to share a couple of examples of their awesomeness with you: a blind date with a book; and a beautiful desk with stationery and encouragement to sit down, relax, and write a letter.
The “Blind Date with a book” table is full of different novels wrapped in brown paper. On each mysterious package is a note that helps you choose the best match for your date: with a list of three other novels (if you liked them, you’ll like this book too). Like an old-fashioned book match making service / lucky dip. Love it.
And then there’s this desk, with a note encouraging letter writers to sit, write, and have their letter posted by the good people of Book Culture. With nearly 2,000 letters sent from this very spot, it’s clearly helping to rekindle the art of letter writing. And they have included some political addresses, but you could also write to your granny, kindergarten teacher, or boy next door. (Or anyone else.) Such a great idea.
And now here’s the city lit with a few touches of green on St Patrick’s Day. (The beautiful view is from the fab Top of the Rock experience.) Just because.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the festive season, I thought I would share some excellent advice from my lovely niece Laura, aged 9. This was part of a homework assignment last week. I really do think that this little book, Recipes of Advice, could come in handy for children and adults all around the world. Including, you know, political leaders and diplomats and HR professionals. And meanies.
So many gems to consider – love you and your work, Laura Grace. xoxo
It’s the week leading up to Valentine’s Day and, whatever your status or your take on the whole festival, it’s a good chance to think about what we love. Whether that’s people, furry friends, places, foods, languages, brands, weather, hobbies, or even shoes. Or weird stuff, like those people on My Strange Addiction who love eating the synthetic filling in couches or love their car (as in, really love their car) or love their teddy bears as if they were children. (If you don’t believe me, you can check out the stories on the show’s website here.)
Anyways, this week I’ll be posting about some of the things that I love. Today, it’s the incomparable Humans of New York.
It’s more than a blog and a book and a community – I’d say that it’s a public service. When I first encountered it, I was hooked. With a snap and a few lines from someone out and about in NYC, you get an incredible insight into their life – sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes hopeful, sometimes heartbreaking. For a fanatical people-watcher like me, it’s gold.
Brandon Stanton is the man behind the Humans (well, technically he’s behind the camera in front of the Humans). What started as a ‘photographic census’ of NYC grew into a hugely popular blog and it’s now even bigger thanks to Facebook (the page has almost 3 million likes). There’s also a book of HONY photos and quotes that you can buy.
These are just a selection of some of my recent favourites. If you are on Facebook, I strongly suggest that you get on board with Humans of New York. You can also check out the book here and the blog here. I LOVE IT!
Now that the festive season is out of the way, it’s time to move on to the next exploitable holiday in the calendar – Valentine’s Day. Now let me just state for the record that, even though I don’t have a Valentine (waaa waaa), I still think that the idea of celebrating love and giving thoughtful trinkets is a fabulous thing. But, I fear that many poor saps get trapped by savvy marketers and become convinced that if you love someone, then this is the day you must step up and show them. Preferably on a grand scale and the more public the declaration of love, the better.
I do worry about those romantic fools, hoodwinked into spending too much money on questionable jewellery, giant I WUV U bears, scent-less roses that have magically tripled in price, dinner accompanied by the soothing sounds of the piano accordion. That sort of thing. Never fear though, I have scoured etsy and come up with some great gift ideas for your Valentine – gifts that won’t break the bank, cause offence or mis-spell love. You’re welcome.
Firstly, from Crafted Cookies, a pair of very cute sweet treats for Valentines. Or for police to give to criminals out on parole. Or for teachers to give the naughtiest kid in the class. Or for creepy Valentines-from-a-distance (I think the technical name is ‘peeping toms’) to give the object of their affection. It just works on so many levels.
I actually really like this next one, a cool necklace from A Charmed Impression. But I do have to question their chosen model in the promo pic, given its inclusion in the Valentine’s Day collection…(To be fair, Katie’s necklace does appear to feature an ‘S’ for Suri (I presume it’s not for Scientology, anyways) rather than a ‘T’ for Tom.)
And another idea that I like, but question their photo choice for the Valentine’s Day collection, comes from Jubile Jewel. They are sterling silver initial earrings, which make a lovely romantic gift for your special someone. But could result in some mis-communication or a fight if your beloved happens to be called Fred Ulrich. Or Fanny Underwood.
Another interesting gift for your sweetheart comes from Plantables & Paper. It’s a love letter kit, which apparently provides you with 50 small cards with a typed intro on each, to get your romantic sonnets flowing. Although this one in the picture does feel more like it’s leading you to put an expiry date on it. If that’s something that you want to convey, maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t quite the time to do it. But when the time is right, if you use this card, it will definitely seem like a smoother delivery of a much nicer message. Of course, I take no responsibility if that presumption turns out to be false and you sustain an injury.
And I couldn’t resist sharing this personalised ceramic mug from 39Cups.Perfect for a Valentine who’s a bit of a geek or a word-nerd. And we all know there’s nothing AT ALL wrong with that. It’s a word search, hand-painted onto a mug, with four words circled – your Valentine’s name, plus three words that describe them. Please note that each of the three descriptive words has to be 10 letters or less though, so it’s too bad if your man is really multi-faceted, or your lady issimply extraordinary.
Well, that’s plenty of Valentine’s Day fodder for you right there, so I’ll stop now. But I do reserve the right to publish some more pre-Valentine’s Day posts if I discover other gifts for your consideration. Or if you find any true gems that I can share, please email me!
Today the sun is out after another bout of rainy weather. It’s a beautiful day and there is a breeze that reminds you that it’s officially Autumn now (although this year in Sydney, you might have missed Summer if you blinked for too long). And on a day like today, I often look around and think…I wish [Person X, Y or Z] was here now to see this. I don’t actually know someone called Person X (or Y or Z), but hopefully you get what I mean. Whether it’s someone who lives on the other side of the world, or someone I used to work with, or an old friend or family member, or just Liam Neeson, I often wish there was some way of zapping that person right here. Kind of like Willy Wonka’s Wonkavision, when Mike Teevee gets transported in a bzillion pieces from the real world to tv world. But I wouldn’t want to do that to people I love, especially since we never actually saw how Mike Teevee ended up…And I know there’s texting, emailing, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Skype blah blah blah. But it’s not the same. Which is why I love the Travelling Heart Project. I stumbled across it last year when I found a link to it somewhere. It was started by a Sydneysider as a way to send love and happy thoughts around the world the old fashioned way – by mail. The heart that you adopt comes with cool tags for your message and the person has the option of using an extra tag to send the heart on to someone else. It’s a nice way to let someone know that you’re thinking of them – not just on their birthday or at Christmas time, but when it’s sunny. Or rainy. Or they have news. Or you see a funny looking dog. Or discover a new ice cream flavour. Or remember a silly thing that happened years ago and it makes you laugh. Or cry. I think they’re a great idea and sometimes they’re the perfect thing to send – whether the recipient is overseas, over the fence, over the other side of the table, over the moon or at the desk next to you. If you’re interested, it’s The Travelling Heart Project.